(navigation image)
Home American Libraries | Canadian Libraries | Universal Library | Community Texts | Project Gutenberg | Children's Library | Biodiversity Heritage Library | Additional Collections
Search: Advanced Search
Anonymous User (login or join us)
Upload
See other formats

Full text of "Traditions of the United States Marine Corps."

: 3i<2e^e^3&(s>fcSe£<2<s>fcS39 



traditions 



of the 

United States 
<JMarine Corps 




Issued by 

THE RECRUITING BUREAU 

U. S^ MARINE CORPS 

Philadelphia, Pa. 



^^^f^ 5^35^3 £^^2)35 



INTRODUCTORY 



NO STRUCTURE is stronger than its foundation; 
and the foundation of the United States Marine 
Corps is a body of traditions deeply entrenched 
in the soil of America. The traditions of the Marine 
Corps were not developed by orators or propagandists. 
They are the result of well authenticated events in the 
history of a service as old as the nation. The article 
reprinted here was originally published in the Marine 
Corps Gazette. It is well worth reading because it 
answers many questions which arise in the minds of 
those who come into contact with marines. Why do 
men enlist in the Marines? Why do so many of them 
spend their whole working lives in this service with- 
out thought of great financial reward? Why do they 
cling so tenaciously to certain uniforms, devices, songs 
and slogans? Captain Oliver P. Smith, U. S. M. C, 
explains these things in a way that holds 
the reader's interest from the 
first line to the last. 




mm^ 



MlAiRlNE CO 






OCT 11 1972 
iFERENCE BRANCH 



u,|£jT 



TRADITIONS OF THE MARINE CORPS 

by Captain Oliver P. Smith, U. S. M. C. 



TRADITIONS are not made, they develop. Early prim- 
itive man had very few traditions to guide him. He 
was encompassed by a world peopled with strange 
and fearful animals. He reacted to pain and pleasure. 
He knew when he was hungry. He found by experiment 
the means to satisfy this hunger. He learned to discriminate 
between the members of the animal kingdom: those to fear 
and those who feared him. It was a continual struggle for 
existence. Being, presumably, gifted with a mind superior 
to that of the members of the animal kingdom, he was 
able to survive by his wits, when his strength availed him 
nothing. This primitive man's offspring were equipped with 
the same mental and physical qualities as the father. But 
they did not begin at the bottom again. At first there be- 
ing no language the offspring emulated the actions of their 
parents. Gradually a fund of human knowledge was built 
up, each generation and each age adding something to the 
sum total of what was known before. This imparted 
knowledge was tradition.' 

Man never has faced the present and future without 
first looking backward. The lawyer consults his precedents, 
the legislator weighs the effect of previous laws, the soldier 
studies the campaigns of his predecessors. Man can see the 
effect of what has gone before and can face the present and 
future with greater confidence. Some of the basic principles 
of tactics were traditions before they became axioms. Mod- 
ern tacticians accept as axiomatic the proposition that the 
best defense is a strong offense, yet this fact must have 
been discovered by our prehistoric ancestors in their en- 
counters with the carniverous beasts of their time. Also, 
the effect of surprise they soon discovered. Many of the 
animals whose flesh and fur were essential to their existence 
were fleeter of foot and could only be killed by stealth. 
Legend hands down to us the account of the fall of Troy, 
which was finally accomplished by stealth and surprise. 
However, by this time man, having added to his traditions, 
was able to employ a far superior degree of finesse. The 
Q boat and the submarine furnish modern examples of the 
development of this last tradition. 

With all the tremendous advance in human knowledge, 
man still likes to look backward. He is not self-sufficient ; 

[5] 



The Traditions of 



traditions give him confidence. What his predecessors have 
done he can do. He looks back with pride on their ac- 
complishments and emulates them. Thus he progresses. 
Some traditions provide a glamour and romance to his in- 
stitutions. Traditions of valor and success have won battles. 
One of the successful football coaches in the Middle West 
has stated that given two football teams possessed of 
equally good material and coaching, the team representing 
the college having the best traditions will win. * 

The America of the Caucasian is a comparatively new 
country. The Puritans, the Dutch, the Swedes, the Cavaliers, 
the Spanish, and the French all brought with them their 
traditions, transplanted them and developed them. The 
Anglo-Saxon, being the dominant racial stock, has given 
us most of our traditions. 

In the course of its 151 years of existence, the Marine 
Corps has developed many fine traditions. There are tradi- 
tions relating to the employment of Marines, traditions of 
the uniform, and traditions exemplifying their physical, 
mental, and moral qualities. These traditions bring to light 
the out of the way places of the world. They account for 
our sword. They have glorified the "hard-boiled" sergeant. 
And they exemplify the best in human character. 

Our emblem symbolizes our employment. The Marine 
Corps Hymn expresses it in words. From "dawn to setting 
sun" is not poetic license. A Marine first sergeant is train- 
ing the Fita Fitas in Samoa on one side of the international 
date line and marines in Guam are guarding an advanced 
base on the other side. Our expeditionary forces in France 
contained officers and men fresh from ships, Santo Dom- 
ingo, Haiti, Nicaragua, Guam, the Philippines, and China. 
As you read the history of the Marine Corps the appro- 
priateness of its emblem is apparent. Marines raised the 
flag for the first time on the soil of the old world on the 
walls of Derne in Tripoli. They planted the flag on the 
ramparts of the Corean forts on the Salee River. They are 
guarding the flag to-day in Peking and Managua. This 
universality of employment is a tradition handed down to 
us by the sea soldiers of Britain. Pepys relates that Charles 
II haying verified a tale of flying fish by questioning Sir 
William Killigren, colonel "of the newly raised maritime 
regiment on the foot," . . . "glanced narrowly at the 
colonel's frank, weather-beaten face. Then with a laugh 
he turned to the secretary and said: 'Mr. Pepys, from the 
very nature of their calling, no class of our subjects can 
have so wide a knowledge of seas and lands as the officers 
and men of our loyal maritime regiment. Henceforth, when- 



[6] 



The Marine Corps 



ever we cast doubt upon a tale that lacketh likelihood we 
will tell it to the Marines — if they believe it, it is safe to 
say it is true.'" 

Because of their mobility and availability Marines have 
been universally employed. "From the very nature of their 
calling" they are either on the spot where the trouble oc- 
curs, or are ready to embark for the centre of the disturb- 
ance by the time the transport can get to the port of em- 
barkation. Whether first to land to stop a fight or "First 
to Fight," they must uphold their traditions for availability 
and mobility. 

These traditions find expression in the familiar "Tell it 
to the Marines," "From the Halls of Montezuma," "First to 
Fight," "Join the Marines and See the World," and "The 
Marines Have Landed . . ." 

The appellation "leatherneck" relates to the uniform. 
Why a "leatherneck?" The use of the term with reference 
to the Marines is universal, but how many people associate 
it with the uniform? The fact that early Marines wore a 
black leather stock gave rise to a name which has been 
current for several generations. Yet the first sailor who 
called a Marine a "leatherneck" was unaware of the fact 
that thereby he started a tradition. 

WHEN First Lieutenant Presley N. O'Bannon returned 
from Tripoli bringing with him a sword with a 
Mameluke hilt presented to him by a former Bashaw 
of Tripoli, he did not realize that this sword would 
be the symbol of authority of Marine officers a hundred 
years later, nor that a ship of the Navy would be named 
in his honor. The regulation can prescribe the weight, 
material, lines, and proportions of the sword, but they do 
not convey the significance of the sword nor paint the 
picture of the exploits of O'Bannon. Were it not for tra- 
dition the modern sword could be dispensed with. Its pre- 
decessor was a weapon, while the sword of to-day is a 
symbol. 

Some years ago a board of officers met to devise an 
appropriate insignia for the Marine Corps. They fixed upon 
the familiar globe and anchor surmounted by a spread eagle. 
This insignia embodies the tradition of the universal em- 
ployment of Marines, their sea traditions, and the symbol 
of the nation itself. 

Secretary of War James McHenry on August 24, 1797, 
prescribed the uniform of Marines to be recruited for the 
new ships Delaware, United States, Constellation, and Con- 



[7] 



The Traditions of 



stitution. Blue and red gold was the color scheme then. 
The guard which paraded on the quarterdeck of the Con- 
stitution presented a more brilliant appearance, but the 
same blue, red, and gold lines up on the quarterdeck of 
the latest battleship at the call of "Full Guard and Band." 

We can convince ourselves that it would be more econ- 
omical in money and space to have only a summer and 
winter uniform, but why do we retain the undress blue? 
Why do we retain a uniform unfitted for field service? The 
explanation must be that we follow tradition. 

Marines are "hard-boiled." The papers tell us so and 
the motion-picture capitalizes this quality. Yet a distin- 
guished educator in commenting on the employment of 
marines in a turbulent Central American Republic, stated: 
"The Marines haven't fired a shot, nor have they been fired 
ujpon. They have actually prevented by their peaceful 
presence a great deal of bloodshed, and they are the best 
body of men in the world to do the task assigned to them." 
The task assigned them is not a new one. For generations 
they have been performing the tasks where the instructions 
are not to fire unless fired upon. Their presence is peace- 
ful in that their presence is respected, but the respect would 
not be there were there any indications of weakness on their 
part. From the Bon Homme Richard to Belleau Wood the 
annals of the Marine Corps are filled with the accounts of 
strong men. No weakling ever repelled a boarding party or 
captured a machine gun nest. Then the Marines are in fact 
"hard-boiled," but only when their mission requires it. 

The tradition of hardihood finds its peace-time express- 
ion on the football field. The President's Cup, the South- 
east Championship, the Pacific Coast Championship, the 
championship of the Fifth Naval District, and of the Fourth 
Naval District indicate that this tradition in conjunction 
with other fine traditions is bearing fruit. 

To a Marine the repelling of boarding attacks or the 
necessity of making his peaceful presence felt in out of the 
way places where rain, mud, and filth are the rule, has not 
exempted him * from being traditionally neat and smart in 
appearance. An observer on John Paul Jones' ship remark- 
ed on the distinctive uniforms of the Marines and the smart 
evolutions through which the non-commissioned officers put 
the guard. When a Marine battalion was employed in sup- 
pressing the labor riots in 1877 their duties required their, 
presence in several cities of Maryland and Pennsylvania. 
They were quartered at different times in depots, sheds, and 
under canvas, yet they found time for inspections and 
evening parades. The Army Medical Director of the Division 



[8] 



The Marine Corps 



of the Atlantic, who inspected the Marines at Reading, re- 
ported, ... "I do not recollect ever having seen a more 
soldierly set of men. ... It is quite remarkable that 
men performing such service are able to keep themselves 
and their arms, etc., so very clean and neat." Visit the 
Marine compartment of a battleship and you will find the 
Marine with his button board, his bianco, and his pressing 
table. Or go to the legation guard at Peking, surrounded by 
the rumblings of an awakening and perhaps defiant China, 
and you will find him brushing shoulders with the repres- 
entatives of many nations and upholding his traditions. 

The best blue uniform in the storeroom will not make 
a recruit look like a Marine, but as he develops, gains assur- 
ance, and imbibes some of the traditions of neatness and 
smartness, he begins to fit his uniform. He perhaps is not 
conscious of the fact that he is obeying tradition, but he 
wants to be a Marine; he wears his uniform like the "top 
sergeant," who learned his "stuff" from some earlier "top 
sergeant" and so on right back to the Marine who paraded 
on the quarterdeck in readiness to repel boarders. 

Precision is the accompaniment of neatness and smart- 
ness. Not only precision in the matter of dress and evolu- 
tions, but in marksmanship. The mission of the Marine 
Corps has always demanded good shooting. There are many 
testimonials of the effectiveness of their fire against the 
enemy in the days of wooden ships. With the lengthening 
of the range of Naval Ordnance the necessity for the rifle 
fire against the enemy vessel has disappeared, but the nec- 
essity therefor on shore is still with us. In recent 3 ears 
this tradition has been built up until the Commandant's 
Office is filled with trophies won in rifle and pistol com- 
petitions. 



TRADITION has set a high physical standard for Ma- 
rines. They must demonstrate the quality of physical 
endurance on the football field as well as in action. 
They must exemplify neatness, smartness, precision, 
and soldierly bearing on the parade ground and the quarter- 
deck as well as cleanliness in camp and, in an emergency, 
the ability to demand respect by their presence or shoot 
straight if the occasion requires it. 

The mental and moral qualities of the American Marine 
have been tested since the birth of the nation. All through 
the history of the Marine Gorps there are examples of his 
versatility, trustworthiness, singleness, and tenacity of pur- 



[9] 



The Traditions of 



pose, pride, discipline, courage, faithfulness and self- 
sacrifice. 

"Necessity is the mother of invention." The nature of 
the duties performed by Marines and their limited numbers 
have made versatility a necessary quality. There is not 
much room for overhead and specialization. In 1836, when 
Colonel Henderson was Commandant, he volunteered his 
services and those of the Corps to assist the Army in put- 
ting down the Indian uprisings in Florida. His offer was 
accepted and for a time the safeguarding of the navy yards 
was entrusted to civilian watchmen. Earlier Marines had 
fought pirates in the Barbary States, the West Indies and 
Quallah Battoo, and had brought the savages in Nooaheevah 
to terms. These Indian-fighting Marines acquitted them- 
selves according to tradition and then went back to the 
navy yards. 

The modern Marine does not concede anything in ver- 
satility to his predecessor. He is guarding the mails, serving 
in barracks and aboard ship, policing neutral zones in Nic- 
aragua, running the Gendarmerie d'Haiti, and protecting 
American lives in China. Versatility is a tradition with him. 

With a reputation for versatility he can be relied upon 
in an emergency. He has proven himself trustworthy. The 
Mexican War furnishes two fine examples of the reliance of 
a commander on the tried qualities of Marines. In his 
march from Vera Cruz to Mexico City, General Scott est- 
ablished an important supply depot at San Augustine, to 
guard which he assigned part of General Quitman's division, 
which included a battalion of Marines. General Scott said 
of this assignment: "I regret having been obliged, on the 
20th, to leave Major-General Quitman, an able commander, 
with a part of his division — the fine Second Pennsylvania 
Volunteers, and the veteran detachment of United States 
Marines — at our important depot, San Augustine. It was 
there that I had placed our sick and wounded, the siege-, 
supply-, and baggage-trains. If these had been lost the 
Army would have been driven almost to despair; and, con- 
sidering the enemy's very great excess of numbers, and the 
many approaches to the depot, it might well have become, 
emphatically, the post of honor." 

Later, Major Levi Twiggs, of the Marines commanded 
the Volunteer Division assigned to the assault of Chapul- 
tepec. With Major Twiggs were seventy Marines acting as 
pioneers and in his support was Lieutenant-Colonel Watson 
with the remainder of the Marines. Major Twiggs was 
killed in the assault, but his sacrifice was not in vain. It 
is said that after the war General Scott made the statement 



[10] 



The Marine Corps 



that he had placed the Marines where the hardest work was 
to be accomplished and had never found his confidence 
misplaced. 

Twice in recent years the guarding of the United States 
mails has been entrusted to Marines. For a quarter of a 
century Marines have been relied upon to protect the leg- 
ation and American citizens resident in Peking. They were 
given these jobs because they were traditionally trustworthy. 

One cannot help but be impressed with the singleness 
of purpose with which Marines have performed the tasks 
assigned them. The Corps throughout its history has been 
small and its personnel scattered. Large commands have 
been rare. They have been called upon to perform arduous 
and thankless duties in every part of the world. Ninety per 
cent, of their tasks are performed in times of peace. There 
is none of the pomp and circumstance of war surrounding 
their departure and return. Many times their employment 
has been freely criticized. Contrast their going and coming 
with the wartime hysteria which accompanies a national 
emergency, when the uniform becomes a symbol of patriot- 
ism and the soldier a hero. Yet, whether the Marine was 
suppressing pirates, protecting a banana plantation, safe- 
guarding American lives in a foreign port, or fighting in a 
real war, he has always given his best. He has learned the 
true meaning of service and has performed it with a single- 
ness and sincerity of purpose whose reward is a task well 
done. And we have one- more tradition to uphold. 

Singleness of purpose without tenacity would be of little 
military value. Almost a century ago when war with Mex- 
ico was eminent and the acquisition of California by Great 
Britain was a possibility, President Polk felt it imperative 
to send instructions without delay to the American consul 
at Monterey, the senior naval officer afloat in Californian 
waters, and to Captain Fremont, who was on an exploring 
mission in California. He selected Lieutenant Gillespie of 
the Marines as his confidential agent. Gillespie made his 
way to the east coast of Mexico, crossed Mexico, disguised 
as a merchant, during the turmoil preceding the war, re- 
ported to Commodore Sloat on the Cyane at Mazatlan and 
proceeded thence to Monterey, where he communicated his 
instructions to Mr. Larkin, the consul. He found that Cap- 
tain Fremont was somewhere in northern California and set 
out to find him. After a trek of six hundred miles through 
a strange country inhabited by unfriendly Indians, he 
located Fremont near the Oregon boundary and and deliver- 
ed his message. As far as can be gleaned from contempor- 
aneous accounts, the instructions from President Polk were 



[in 



The Traditions of 



to resist any attempt at foreign acquisition of California 
and to encourage its annexation. It is history now that our 
western boundary was extended to the waters of the Pacific 
snortly thereafter, and Gillespie, by his courage and tenacity 
of purpose was largely instrumental in setting at work the 
agencies which saved California to the Union. Modern 
methods of communication would remove the necessity for 
Gillespie's perilous trip, but he has handed down to us a 
tradition for tenacity of purpose which science and invention 
cannot improve upon. 

Gillespie possessed individual tenacity of purpose. The 
Marine division of the Cumberland which stuck to their 
guns in the action with the Merrimac and fired the last shot 
from their sinking ship, despite the fact that the first shot 
from the Merrimac had killed nine of their number, ilus- 
trated a collective tenacity of purpose whose foundation 
was discipline. War by its frightfulness cannot help but 
disorganize our mental and physical processes. Because of 
this disorganization the average man must be taught to 
instinctively obey. The leader is the officer or man whom 
other men will instinctively follow. In time of peace we 
call an organization disciplined when it presents a neat and 
smart appearance on the parade ground, when the men are 
willing and their conduct record is good. These qualities 
indicate the recognition of authority, an essential of dis- 
cipline in action. The Marine division on the Cumberland 
must have had this essential quality. 

Much bloodshed has been saved by discipline. None but 
a disciplined organization would preserve its equilibrium in 
the face of the threats, curses, stones and occasional shots 
from an angry mob and yet disperse the mob without 
bloodshed. Man is not prone to "turn the other cheek," and 
it requires the strictest kind of discipline to keep him from 
striking back. Discipline is firmly fixed as a tradition of 
the Corps ; the consideration of the present-day Marine is 
to live up to that tradition. 

Sometimes it takes courage to make a decision, but more 
often it is the carrying out of the decision which demands 
the utmost in courage and devotion to duty. At Ghapul- 
tepec, General Scott made the decision to carry the castle 
by assault; Major Levi Twiggs, of the Marines, led the as- 
sault at the cost of his own life. He, no doubt, considered 
the head of the assaulting column a post of honor, as his 
predecessors did, and as tradition bids us do. 

The words of Commodore Shubrick, "The Marines have 
behaved with the fidelity and constancy which characterizes 
that valuable Corps, . . ." have a familiar ring. They 



[12] 



The Marine Corps 



referred to the conduct of Marines in the Pacific Squadron 
in the Mexican War, but the same sentiments had been ex- 
pressed before and have since been embodied in our motto, 
"Semper Fidelis." General Eaton informed Aaron Burr that 
"the Marine Corps stand as they should stand." Burr soon 
found where they stood, for they were sent to the centre 
of the conspiracy and to them was entrusted the guarding 
of the imprisoned conspirators. In the greatest of all wars 
the Marines stood as they should stand, ever faithful. 
"Semper Fidelis" embodies a tradition which will last. 

The Marine who interposed his arm to ward off the 
sword thrust aimed at the head of Decatur practiced fidelity 
to the point of self-sacrifice. He lost his arm but added 
lustre to the traditions of the Marine Corps. 

Can we help but "glory in the title of United States 
Marines" when we cast our glance backward? Pride of 
person and pride of accomplishment are qualities which we 
strive to instil in every Marine, and what better way can 
we accomplish this than by arousing in him the desire to 
emulate these qualities in his predecessors. Pride is a 
heritage of Marines. 



EVERY tradition we have is a tradition of the Marine 
Corps. Companies, battalions, regiments, and brigades 
have distinguished themselves, but their accomplish- 
ments have become traditions of the Corps as a whole. 
We have an "esprit de corps" which implies "sympathy, en- 
thusiasm, devotion and a jealous regard for the honor of the 
body as a whole." And this spirit of oneness exists despite 
the fact that Marines are scattered in small detachments over 
half the face of the globe. The Army, the Infantry, Artillery, 
Cavalry, Engineers have their traditions. The divisions and 
regiments have theirs. It is the Infantry team which 
played the Marines for the President's Cup. The runner-up 
to the Marines in the National Matches may be the Cavalry 
or the Engineers. Never the Army. This branch, division, 
or regimental spirit in the Army is inevitable because of 
its organization. We are fortunate in that our traditions 
have given us an esprit de corps, a spirit of the whole. 

In this respect the Navy resembles the Marine Corps. 
Our traditions are bound up with those of the Navy. We 
differ in our adaptability. There is something incongruous 
in the consideration of a bluejacket in the trenches, although 
the Naval medical personnel were there. Yet the Marines 
adapted themselvs to the trenches as well as they ever did 
to the quarterdeck and the gun deck. The traditions of the 



[13] 



The Traditions of 



Navy are mainly sea traditions; ours spring from accom- 
plishments ashore as well as afloat. We also differ in our 
conception of discipline as handed down to us hy tradition. 
The Marine has always been the watch-dog of the ship, the 
backbone of the military organization, and to him has been 
entrusted the ceremonial details. This employment has 
left its imprint. The Marine knows he is a better soldier 
than the bluejacket, that he can handle himself better in 
the field and that he is given positions of trust over his 
shipmates. He is apt to laugh at the bluejacket under arms 
and at drill, but he will gladly lend a hand in the fireroom 
on a full-power run or go in the handling room to assist 
a turret crew in target practice, because he cannot help but 
admire the spirit with which the bluejacket does a blue- 
jacket's work. There is something inspiring in the clock- 
work precision of a turret crew in action; there is much to 
be admired in the "black gang" who give their best to keep 
the engineering record clear. A Marine finds that a blue- 
jacket, too, knows discipline. 

The wardroom is a clearing house for traditions, both 
good and bad. Sometimes one is inclined to believe that 
Shakespeare was right when he had Mark Antony declaim: 
"The evil that men do lives after them, the good is oft in- 
terred with their bones." At any rate the supposed partial- 
ity of our predecessors for their "bunks," their competition 
with the chaplain for a sinecure, and their addiction to the 
bottle has lived after them. These traditions remain the 
property of the wardroom. But it was not such traditions 
which prompted the foremost naval commanders of their 
time to overwhelm Congress with protests against the 
proposition in 1866 to transfer the Corps to the Army, nor 
would they prompt the Admiral of the Navy to the state as 
he did in 1874, "From time immemorial the Corps has held 
a high position in the estimation of the most experienced 
officers of the Navy, and whenever an effort to reduce it has 
been made and the matter has been carefully examined into 
by Congress, such attempt has uniformly failed." These ex- 
pressions of confidence were not political; they came from 
the heart and were induced by an appreciation of our best 
traditions. 

Our mission demands harmonious cooperation with the 
Navy. Understanding is necessary before cooperation is 
possible. The Marine aboard ship must be more than a 
policeman, a gunner or an ornament to the quarterdeck; he 
is there to learn to know the Navy, to imbibe its traditions, 
and inversely to induce a proper understanding of the mis- 
sion of the Marine Corps and an appreciation of our tradi- 



[14] 



■■miar:. 

The Marine Corps 

tions. It is too late to do this after the emergency arises. 
One may justly feel that the outcome of the Gallipoli Ex- 
pedition would have been far different had there been a 
proper understanding between the r l^nd and naval forces. 

Our employment with the Navy has left its impress on 
our traditions, which is true to a lesser extent as a result 
of our employment with the Army. Other agencies also 
affect them. The press keeps them fresh in our memory 
and allows no lapse from the high standard set by them. 
The policy of the government itself has given us i our univer- 
sal employment. Without the modern interpretation of the 
Monroe Doctrine and the avowed intention of the (govern- 
ment to protect its nationals, the Marine Corps might not 
have been able to build up such ifine traditions for avail- 
ability and mobility, nor would they have had the ever- 
recurring opportunities to prove their moral fibre. The 'press 
and the policy of the government do not adversely affect our 
traditions. What of modern progress, speed,, and invention? 
Tradition implies something of slow growth and develop- 
ment. The answer is that methods and equipment may 
change radically and (rapidly, but the fundamental moral 
qualities are unchangeable. The traditional uniform may 
slide into oblivion; faithfulness to-day is just as much a 
virtue as it was a thousand years ago or will be a thousand 
years hence. 

Only when we emulate our traditions do they enrich us 
and enhance; our value. In the language of the military, we 
must consolidate our position and advance. We cannot long 
shine in reflected glory. The barbarian no longer feared the 
legions of decadent Rome, because these legions had ceased to 
emulate the qualities of Caesar's legions, which had brought 
so much glory to the Empire. There is much harking back 
to the good old days of "wooden ships and iron men," and 
some scoffing at ?the emphasis now placed on military ed- 
ucation. Emulation of the hardihood, courage, faithfulness, 
and self-sacrifice of these "iron men" is commendable, but 
we must stop there. In an area of speed, progress, and in- 
vention, the modern Marine has come to appreciate the fact 
that "knowledge is power," and without it he -could not up- 
hold his traditions for availability, mobility, versatility, and 
efficiency. Our traditions demand that our methods keep 
step with progress. Without progress we could not remain 
faithful to our mission. Without a faithful fulfilment of 
our mission the Marine Corps would cease to exist. 



[15] 



-wSz — Zz-S-S — s 1 ^^— 'a'H'D 



U&MABlWtCORP 

w 




Traditions of the United States Marine 
Corps Mu 1215 




^L, 







%J& '** 




%V 



s^fe